Hi everyone – today’s post will be short and sweet. I normally give a summary of my year, my reflections, my blogging plans on New Year’s Eve, but I need to postpone. I want to wish you all a wonderful new year! Featured image is the beautiful Orion constellation today.
In the meantime, 2020 is clinging with a vice grip with a complimentary ball and chain. My boyfriend is currently sick with COVID-19, and many of friends have lost loved ones. They don’t have the energy to speak to me now and need as much rest as possible. I’ll be snuggling up with one of my boyfriend’s fantasy books, Arafel’s Saga by C.J. Cherryh , an Elven story.
Here is a quote from the first paragraph in the book:
Things there are in the world which have never loved Men, which have been in the world far longer than humankind, so that once when Men were newer on the earth and the woods were greater, there had been places a Man might walk where he might feel the age of the world on his shoulders.
Forests grew in which the stillness was so great he could hear stirrings of a life no part of his own. There were brooks from which the magic had not gone, mountains which sang with voices, and sometimes a wind touched the back of his neck and lifted the hairs with the shiver of a presence at which a Man must never turn and stare.
But the noise of Men grew more and more insistent. Their trespasses became more bold. Death had come with them, and the knowledge of good and evil, and this was a power they had, both to be virtuous and to be blind.
Take care, friends, and I’ll see you again in 2021
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.
Hi there! Hope you are enjoying the season’s festivities. Today’s prompt about words has my mind circling many random topics today. A few nights ago, I played some fun virtual holiday games over Zoom with some friends. Trivia, a scavenger hunt, guess the language, I spy… One was an A to Z holiday word game. I ended up with a lot of foodie words. 🙂
Bloggers here have whipped up some creative posts with words that have enriched my life. It’s obvious that how we construct phrases can leave an impact. I’ll never forget the day I looked at the first page in my dad’s English learning book from the refugee center. His instructor wrote an encouraging note saying how important it was to learn these words and phrases as it can help you navigate life in a new country.
Fun Words to Say
About the Author from the Back Flap: Seth Lerer was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at Wesleyan University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago. He taught at Princeton before moving to Stanford University, where he is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities. The author of many books and articles on medieval and Renaissance literature, he is known nationally for his audio and videotape series, The History of the English Language, for the teaching company.
A few years ago, I really enjoyed a book about the development of the English language by Seth Lerer. I wrote a fun research paper as well as conducted some surveys about the invention of words and how technology has affected its development by interviewing people in the park. Most people were open to chatting with me about their favorite words. From Pig Latin to Spanglish, it was fun to listen to their varied responses.
Do you ever have words in which you like how it rolls off your tongue? I remembered how my friend and I were discussing how we enjoyed words with the “ch” sound. Charity, Chelsea, Chill, Charisma. For me it brings back memories of the Chia Pet commercials! Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia!
I also found a word search book as I was de-cluttering my room. It was quite a treat since it’s been ages since I’ve done a word search! I really enjoyed doing this one because Chicken Soup for the Soul compiled a set a quotes in each puzzle to find. It made me commit to memorizing “uplifting quotes to brighten your day” in order to find them. 😉 The reward center in my brain was happy from the dopamine kick. I’ve finished three so far:
No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”
He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate. Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. Silence is when we hear inwardly; sound when we hear outwardly.
Henry David Thoreau
It is the duty of men to judge men only by their actions. Our faculties furnish us with no means of arriving at the motive, the character, the secret self. We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I also discovered a compilation of thoughts on colored note cards called “Leaves of Wisdom” from The Ladies Bible Class at the University Avenue Church of Christ. Today’s succinct thought:
Behold, I bring you good news. You are loved.
A. M. Chadwick
Winter is Feeling Different
The first day of winter was a few days ago, and I’m shocked that I can walk outside in shorts and a T-shirt in the middle of December this year! Granted, I don’t live in Australia where it’s probably summer right now. Normally, there’s sleet or snow and cold, bracing winds to match where I’m at. Am I going to complain about this pleasant surprise? No…but it makes me think about global warming.
This past Sunday I was reading news of the nation’s new climate team in the local newspaper. I’m grateful to learn that this diverse group has the background and experience to tackle these issues head on. Below are some galvanizing words from the president elect. Looking forward to see how actions pan out in time.
“This brilliant, tested, trailblazing team will be ready on day one to confront the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response rooted in science and equity.
They share my belief that we have no time to waste to confront the climate crisis, protect our air and drinking water, and deliver justice to communities that have long shouldered the burdens of environmental harms.
Together, on behalf of all Americans, they will meet this moment with the urgency it demands — and seize the opportunity to build back better with good-paying union jobs, climate-resilient infrastructure, and a clean energy future that benefits every single community.”
Heartwarming stories from “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are considered timeless literature for me. I can pick any story from any of these series at any time in my life and feel wonderful and uplifted. There’s a quote that reminds me of an event that happened during Christmas time many years ago.
We once had a neighbor who moved from New York into the house next to ours. She was a friendly and attractive lady who my siblings and I always waved to her and wished her a good morning. At the time, my siblings and I were all young children.
She had some mannerisms that were unfamiliar to us in the suburbs. She also had a habit of gardening in the front yard in her bathing suit catching the attention of any males who happened to walk their dogs into our cul-de-sac. My visiting cousins made fun of her, but I came to her defense saying that she never caused us any harm and looked out for us. I suspected that even if she heard my cousins speaking behind her back, she wouldn’t have cared what they thought because she was confident in who she was.
One Christmas day, we heard our doorbell ring. My siblings and I ran to the front door and looked outside the window. There was a wrapped package outside our door. I saw the back of a blond woman’s head and she herself was dressed in a lush red Christmas coat like Mrs. Clause. It was our neighbor, but she didn’t stay to chat probably due to any language barriers.
During a time when we didn’t have to be weary of potential bomb packages outside residential homes, we naturally brought the box inside and opened it since it was from our non-malicious neighbor. Inside our neighbor packed all sorts of goodies for us. We were amazed all all the snacks, toys, and refrigerator holiday magnets she packed for us.
I think back on this memory and feel that it’s a special moment when a neighbor wants to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in spite of the increasing cynicism and all things that go on in the world. I’m grateful that we had such a great neighbor while growing up!
Which book(s) have you read / are going to read in the last/next 10 days? Any books released in 2020 that you would like to recommend me? My next post will be about all the books I’ve been “skimming and sampling”, but not quite diving in. For me, some books are like a snack rather than a feast.
However, my answers for this specific question are:
In the past 10 days, I’ve read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Lee’s cover is very beautiful and rather intriguing to me.
State a fun fact about you that makes you stand out in any generic crowd, do you have any rebellious feature that makes a point in your bio? I don’t know if this makes me stand out as many high school students in my class were expected to learn this, but I memorized the first ten lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English and secretly enjoyed it.
I also really enjoyed the learning process of creating my own illuminated texts one autumn season, and wouldn’t mind taking a calligraphy class! Despite its impracticality, I enjoy the visual aesthetics of fancy penmanship.
As for the second part of this question about any rebellious features… I read this article by Personality Growth and was intrigued by its title, “Is Personal Responsibility the New Counter Culture?” This question resonates with me because my own sense of personal responsibility has caught people around me off guard sometimes.
There were times when my parents and I didn’t see eye to eye, but I didn’t rebel much against them except when it came to defending a few unconventional friendships that I’ve had. I guess I love reading about rebellious individuals and learning how they think by listening to their stories, but I don’t really participate in “typical” rebellious activities.
Though I consider myself well-behaved and well-mannered, sometimes, I think I shock people when I support highly idiosyncratic or bohemian individuals. This pondering leads me to think of this quote below:
When I think of this quote, I think there are many interpretations. The link I attached to Laurel’s name summarizes what her intention was when she said this. Focusing not on whether women should misbehave in order to be memorable, but on the fact that there are many women who have done remarkable things throughout history yet are not recorded or documented. That’s slowly changing with social media and more female representation.
Give away a couple of your favorite latest Netflix series or Anime that you would want me to watch?
I can offer some variety for you. 😉 I don’t think I can say that these shows are my favorite of all time, but the latest Netflix series that have caught my attention as of late are: The Good Place, Mr. Robot, The Crown, Agents of Shield, and Chuck. Some are hilarious comedies filled with action and others are somewhat dark and intriguing.
As for anime, I’ve been enjoying The Dragon Prince and The Vinland Saga. 🙂
Dogs or cats (or a third option)…and why? I love petting other people’s dogs and cats, but I don’t think I could be an owner of either. I enjoy birds though! Lovely morning chirps!
Name 3 snacks that figure in your cheat diet! Fried chicken, Crème de Pirouline Chocolate Hazelnut Wafers, Nutty bars!
What are your pet peeves (top 3)? I think my pet peeves shift around every time someone asks me this question on an award. Right now though, they are 1) Passive aggressive behavior, 2) Bigots, 3) Complainers
For how long could you possibly unplug and stay clear from any social media? (time in minutes/hours/days?)
Some are more easier to stay away than others. I can stay away from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for months. It’s more difficult for me to stay away from LinkedIn, WordPress, and YouTube.
No Idea Is So Outlandish That It Should Not Be Considered With A Searching But At The Same Time A Steady Eye
– Winston Churchill
Enjoyed this year’s invigorating Aspen Ideas Festival these past few days. Various leaders around the world engaged in a deep discussion of the ideas and issues across many disciplines that both shape our lives and challenge our times. It’s virtual and free to attend. Past videos from this weekend have been archived and ready for the public to view. For more information: https://www.aspenideas.org/attend/festival
Hello everyone, the moderator of our alumni book club wrote me an email a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share with everyone who may be interested apropos of current events.
“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.” -Toni Morrison
In light of the current moment, many resources and books have been circulating that may promote understanding and facilitate meaningful conversations about injustice. As such, we understand that your reading priorities may be shifting directions. We support book club members in reading whatever literature speaks to them at this time. We will continue to send information and questions related to our summer reading period. Feel free to jump in to the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru) whenever you’d like to engage with the group or to share and discuss some of the books you are reading independently this summer.
Additionally, we imagine our book club members are seeking books and other resources that speak to the preexisting and immediate conditions from which many communities suffer. Such topics might include justice, equity, equality, diversity, the systems that built, support, block and/or degrade these principles, how we got here, and ways in which we can be agents of change in working to build a better world. In line with this goal, we think you may find the following works to be of interest and of value on that journey:
When considering where to buy books, you may be interested in checking out this list put together by Lithub of black-owned independent bookstores that offer ordering/shipping options.
Similarly, we welcome members to share book recommendations in our Book Recommendations thread within the Introductions and General Topics category in the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru). Please know that we believe in the importance of this community reading books from a range of voices and perspectives, and we sincerely welcome your input.
I found out that Tommie dePaola passed away this morning. I pondered why this author sounded so familiar. Then I remembered! He wrote and illustrated a children’s book, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. I read this book during grade school.
Thanks for the beautiful, magical tale. Resharing a photo from my archives in remembrance of you. 🌹❤
Just when I think I’m going to be doing haikus for the rest of the year due to my tight schedule…
Blogger “Normal Happenings” has tagged me in an interesting challenge that seems to coincide with a random daily horoscope I received a few days ago from a free Vedic astrology app called Yodha. (By the way, I like your new branding! It’s bold and glowing like a neon sign. 🙂 )
Happy new year! For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following my blog, and I will be swinging by to read yours as well. I see a lot of new faces out there, and I just want to say hi! This is my fun, personal blog where I typically write about all sorts of subjects in a variety of formats: poetry, story, photo-story, music. I’m about to start another blog for school related stuff, but that’ll be shared on another post!
You may wonder how did I encounter Vedic astrology? Well! One day, I was chatting with a young lady about the staggering synchronicity in both our lives, and she told me about how she regularly talks to her Vedic astrologist for all sorts of decisions. She said that she made some of the best business decisions of her life with his guidance and that it is a lot more accurate than western astrology. I was skeptical because there are a lot of quacks out there as you well know, but intrigued nevertheless.
So, I downloaded the free Yodha Daily Horoscope app where authentic Vedic astrologists from Nepal share with you their insights. I started learning more about it. Apparently there are Indian universities that offer advanced courses in Vedic astrology despite scientists protesting about it being a pseudoscience. Jyotisha is the traditional system of Hindu astrology. Its etymology is from the Sanskrit term, “jyoti” meaning “light heavenly body”. The term Vedic astrology came about later around the 70s.
Below are the sort of messages I get. This is one I received this morning:
“Due to your nature, you are a rather positive person. You are someone who can find a silver lining in most of the situations. Perhaps you are aware of this gift and know how to implement it. At times, you can put a smile on your face even when the circumstances don’t naturally warrant it and in doing so you can spread good vibrations to others. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not everyone has that gift and you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t. The planets are encouraging you to show how it’s done.”
Astrologer P. Bhattarai
Anyway, back to the horoscope that inspired this post! She mentioned how when time and money permits, I enjoy traveling to an exotic locale and experiencing new things. However, lately, I may be seeking a more spiritual experience which may not be a physical location: a journey to understand myself better, gain a deeper understanding of myself, be more conscious and aware. I thought Daily Inkling’s prompt might help me explore this arena!
“Write 24 talking points between current you and you from seven years ago. Consider teaching yourself something you’ve picked up since then.“
Seven years ago was the year 2013. A pivotal point in my life: the beginning of a lot of new things, drastic changes to my lifestyle. This is a rare occasion when all of my category boxes on my blog have been checked! I’ve chosen 24 random topics to discuss in no particular order: then vs. now!
2013: Grocery store cashier – Served a lot of people from all walks of life! I love to meet new people and listening to their stories.
2020: Technical writer for a cybersecurity firm & vacation business manager – nice balance between the two!
I read a lot of books during both years, but I’ll just mention two for now:
2013:Shantaram, an epic, philosophical tale of an Australian convict opening up clinics in the slums of India
“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”
2020:The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy – People worldwide share unique testimonials of what made them happy
Optimism isn’t frivolous: it’s necessary. If we feel hopeless all the time, if we’re always in crisis, the natural response is to give up and stop trying altogether. But we can’t let snark win. Problems are there to be solved. Challenges, to be met. We can be aware of the bad while also being mindful of how we can make it better. … Empathy is essential, and learning what matters to people on the other side of the world helps us all. Understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.
2013: Friends were there to lift my spirits, give me warm cup of tea when going through a new challenge, have fun in the cosplay contests at school. Really enjoyed checking out the Ghostbusters!
2020: All of the above still applies, but my friendships seem to have more depth and honesty. Also, true friendship has a way of helping me see things in myself that I didn’t think was capable.
2013: I took my family and friends to check out the Arboretum gardens in Dallas, TX during special holidays like Mother’s Day
2020: I hope to visit Vanderpool, TX sometime and bask in the warm glow of the “lost maple trees” during autumn
2013: Infatuated by a gentle young man I met one beautiful autumn day while feeding the birds at the pier down by the lake. A rather electrifying meeting, though the relationship never developed due to my fear of commitment.
2020: Enjoying a long term relationship of 4 years. Its been a dream come true filled fun adventures, humor, and passion with the normal ups and downs of life.
2013: Attended community college on a digital forensics academic track. The most memorable project was where I developed a website for a hypothetical geologist living in Colorado. He was studying various types of gemstones he found during his excavations. I researched stories of legends surrounding their origin.
2020: Currently working on an online masters program for technology and innovation management track. The most memorable project so far involved a hypothetical four million dollars granted to me to develop a civil engineering software application from start to finish.
7) Volunteer Cause
2013: I worked with a group of friends with Habitat for Humanity. Learned a lot about house building and painting!
2020: Currently helping a school teacher collect cans and plastics with the Rotary Club for a contest with Pepsi Co.
2013: Had a thing for barre workouts!
2020: About to do Hot Yoga with my cowokers!
2013: Back when Google+ was around, I heavily got involved with a sustainability discussion group for many hours. The discussions intrigued me. I wanted to learn how to be eco-friendly and be up to date with all of it.
2020: I’m itching to get plugged into community initiatives regarding sustainability issues. They’re looking for ideas, and I hope to contribute in someway!
2013: I fancied the idea of being a student blogger on campus. I applied, but was turned down for the position. It may have been because the writing sample I sent was about the sound of a lovely bell ringing off in the distance as I was walking around the campus lake to class. Maybe they want more samples about student life? 🙂
Below is the walkway of the lovely campus I used to walk by often.
2020: Didn’t matter! Here I am blogging my heart out on my own without anyone else’s approval! I don’t know why I thought of it sooner! 😉
Blogging my thoughts has been a freeing, exciting experience. Thank you to my readers for making the experience so worthwhile!
12) Fashion Interests
2013: Bold floral-print Sunday dresses
2020: Bandage skirts, Currently love them! Sorry no picture of me in them, but I love to wear them with leggings
2013: 30 Rock, CSI Miami, Supernatural, Glee
2020: Meteor Garden, Witcher, Miraculous Lady Bug
2013: Frozen, Iron Man III, Man of Steel, The Croods, Monsters University
2020: Star Wars (2019), want to see Mulan, Artemis Fowl, Sonic
There were a lot of news stories that deeply affected me and my path trajectory.
2013: Nelson Mandela’s death, Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden
Nelson Mandela was a leader whom I was captivated by. Boston Marathon and Edward Snowden prompted my interests in security.
The news story above impacts me because it deals with one of my favorite childhood pastimes. My first major Lego project was a pirate ship. Always fascinated by adventure even then! Will be going to a Lego Brick Fiesta event with some friends this year to indulge in this interest!
2013: Followed Maria Sharapova tennis matches quite a bit since I practiced developing my forearm swing at the tennis courts!
2020: I might go check out some Spurs basketball players play! Matt Bonner signed my basketball. He was so down-to-earth and friendly!
2013: I was really curious about consumer drones. Always felt tempted to buy one to take awesome aerial photos and videos from the sky!
2020: Right now, I’m super curious about the Click and Grow smart garden!
18) Favorite Hang-out spots
2013: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX
I enjoyed walking sections around this park almost every day. Seeing the scenery change with the seasons is a great beauty. I once walked around the whole park which took four hours! There are some incredibly beautiful views, expansive hiking trails, fishing spots. There’s also a well known ghost story as well about the Lady of White Rock Lake! One of my favorite memories is sitting on a wooden bench on top of a hill and seeing the sunset as the breeze is blowing the tall grasses.
2020: Riverwalk & Pearsall Park in San Antonio, TX
I enjoy walking downtown and checking out the riverboats with curious spectators gliding by in this river. At night, it’s bustling with tourist activity. Families and couples are dining in the restaurants. Some of my favorite memories here was when my brother visited me and we got to listen to a beautiful mariachi band singing a lovely serenade and when my boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas slow dancing in the island platform.
I love to go jogging here with my exercise buddy early mornings! The fields and the hills are incredible. Breathing in the fresh cold air is refreshing.
2013: I was trying to continue my Spanish studies on Babbel
2020: Duolingo’s mascot, a little owl, has been guiding me in learning Spanish and Vietnamese basics. It’s been fun learning from their podcasts too!
2013: For an English literature assignment, I had the opportunity to watch a live Shakespearean comedic play, Taming of the Shrew.
2020: Curious about the Miss Saigon musical in town!
2013: Fascinated by Google’s chart that compiled deforestation rates by country
2020: Currently checking out Mongobay’s environmental snippet summary
2013: Learned about Healthcare.gov’s crashing website as millions of Americans tried to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Stress is relative though!
2020: Everyone around me is getting the flu! Got my flu shot. Learning about personalized AI medical care innovations
2013: Played Juice Cubes a bit!
2020: Curious about Smash Hit and Megaman Zero!
24) Quote I lived by
2013: Eleanor Roosevelt impacted me from an early age.
“Do the thing you think you cannot do. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
2020: Right now, these below! More to come later!
Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
That was fun! See you soon everyone! Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂